Marc Spector goes undercover to investigate a cult claiming to worship Khonshu.
The Story: A new organization in NYC is employing the homeless, collecting their donations and strategically positioning them throughout the city. An unlucky few are chosen as sacrifices for Khonshu, which Marc Spector immediately stops. The cult members are overjoyed to see him, and take him to their leader. She claims to be Spector’s sister/bride and under Khonshu’s guidance. Spector rejects this, saying that if this is true then he won’t be able to defeat her. The issue ends with Khonshu helping an injured Mr.Knight to his feet, repeating the slogan of the cult that “Everything will be alright.”
Ackins does a decent job rendering the Egyptian decor inside the cult’s hidden chambers, but the action in this issue feels less impactful than in previous issues he drew. I believe he is trying to mimic Greg Smallwood’s style to a degree, but doesn’t manage to look as inspired.
I suspect an overarching theme of Bunn’s story arc is the influence of Khonshu, and to a degree Religion, on the characters of “Moon Knight”. While examining Spector’s belief in Khonshu is not new, the idea of Spector facing multiple foes claiming to be avatars of Khonshu is interesting. This unfortunately isn’t enough to make the issue, which is a continuing problem for Bunn’s writing. Each issue has the promise of potential (The Monster under the bed, Savagery in Man and Animal, the specters of Marc Spector) it all comes across as workman-like, versus the groundbreaking work and high concepts accomplished by the previous teams.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent
Marvel’s latest volume of Moon Knight started out as a revelation with visionary comics writer Warren Ellis & up and coming artist Declan Shalvey creating a whirl wind six issue’s of one shots that were dark, though provoking, dirty, cerebral and just the right mix of deceptively simple in it’s execution and highly complex in it’s bigger picture to end up as not only one of the best new series of 2014 but one of the years best ongoing series period. After Ellis and Shalvey left, Brian Wood picked up the pieces with his Darkhorse cohort Greg Smallwood in doing an occasionally brilliant but ultimately underwhelming exploration of white privilege through the character’s own hubris. As is the titles modis opperandi, Marvel has handed over the current run to writer Cullen Bunn, the 6th Gun creator who was once the next big thing at Marvel and is now the next big thing at DC after several of his attempts at ongoing series became nonstarters with the former. Bunn’s joined by relative new comer Ron Ackins whose bibliography includes a little read X-Men/Nova/Ironman miniseries from last summer and some interior work on Prophet after spending his early career doing commercial design for companies like Nike, Undrcrwn & And 1. In terms of experience and accomplishment the new Moon Knight team is as green as it get’s and their first effort is a mixed bag that is surprisingly strong but still feels regressive from the titles past highs. What wasn’t apparent from the outset of the Ellis/Shalvey launch of Moon Knight was how their take would end up setting the tone for the entire series in spite of the creative teams, no matter what you think about Wood/Smallwood or Bunn/Ackins, the thematic & aesthetic through line is felt across all three writer/artist combo’s. Credit where credits due because part of this is undoubtedly the result of having colorist Jordie Bellaire for the entirety of the series as her work quite literally set’s the tone for the series and she remains perhaps the best and most creative in her current skill set. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t attribute a good part of it to Bunn & Ackins, who if nothing else, seem to have the aesthetic and style to keep the series consistent. For his part, Bunn crafts a story that is interesting and doesn’t seem out of place for what Ellis would have done, with a sort of techno-horror concept and while the voice of Moon Knight isn’t as swagged out as Ellis, it’s in the ball park which is promising. Ackins slays, his visual story telling is vibrant and lively and he understands the tone and pace of the book rather flawlessly. If nothing else, Moon Knight is nowhere close to falling off in the visual aspect of the series. In spite of all that, this issue still felt a little bit empty, it didn’t have the kinetic mind fuck excellence of the Ellis/Shalvey issues or the purpose and confidence of Wood/Smallwood. It manages to uphold all the things that have made the series great so far but that’s all it’s doing at this point. Following up two of the most revered writers in comics and two illustrators that have hit their prime isn’t an easy feat and it’s entirely possible that by next issue they transcend the formula but until then it’s just coloring within the lines. Make no mistake that Bunn & Ackins are more then capable in doing that here. It’s that this series was always at it’s best when it stretches that formula to it’s limits, it’s what seperates the good from the great and for Moon Knight, fair or unfair, great is the standard.
Gar Systo Shapeshifter (true form)
Decades ago, the extraterrestrial Gar Systo sent shapeshifter agent Bor Torax to spy on Earth culture in preparation for a future invasion. Bor discovered the Image Comics series Prophet several years ago, and was impressed with writer Brandon Graham’s creative re-imagining of the superhero character created by Rob Liefeld.
Graham’s story transported Liefeld’s character centuries into the future, where Prophet’s superhuman genes were used to create a race of super-soldiers that were the backbone of a human interstellar empire.
Bor was delighted that Graham used an obscure superhero character to build an impressive, complex space opera story. Bor was also impressed with the high quality of artists that worked on the series, including Simon Roy and Giannis Milonogiannis (Bor often wondered if Giannis was related to Milonogiannis IV, tyrant warrior emperor of the planet Kartax).
Bor was disappointed that the series was on hiatus until the upcoming Prophet: Earth War series, but its three hearts skipped a beat when it discovered Prophet Strikefile #1. This encyclopedia-that-is-really-a-comic provides excellent, visually stunning summaries of some of the many strange characters and devices found in Graham’s science fiction opus (with art provided by Graham, Roy, Milonogiannis, Dave Taylor, Grim Wilkins, and Sandra Lanz, among others), and is an enjoyable treat for both new and veteran Prophet readers.
UPDATE: Bor Torax has not communicated with the Gar Systo Military Intelligence Service since purchasing Prophet Strikefile #1. Bor’s last communication to the Gar Systo consisted only of the following image from Earth artist Dave Taylor (after careful review, the Gar Systo Empire has cancelled its invasion plans):